Integration of the Shadow Archetype

In stories, it is often seen that only when the hero becomes truly aware of his own shadow aspects, can he fully come into his real power and follow his real calling.

That is true for the hero in us too! Only when we integrate and open up to our shadow can we come into our true power and live freely.

Working with the shadow in some sense is one of the primary goals of therapy.  Integration – accepting ourselves for who we are – sets us free. Integration aims at a freedom to exist in the here and now with all virtues and vices that we perceive in ourselves.

Integrating the shadow of course does not mean that we need to act on our desires that may be harmful to others or to ourselves. The idea is to nevertheless acknowledge the presence of these aspects in ourselves, thus allowing the feelings of compassion for ourselves and others. Thus, self-compassion is often a prerequisite to inviting the shadow to exist as a part of us.

It is hard to try and live up to an idealized image of ourselves that we create in our minds. It takes even more courage to learn to see ourselves for what we really are.